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“We are not our brother's keeper—we are our brother and we are our sister. We must look past complexion and see community.” —Maya Angelou

Reading Group Guide

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  1. Why do you think the idea of teaching in Tanzania first appealed to Cutler? How do her motives for teaching in Tanzania change during the course of the book?
  2. In the Morogoro market, a young Tanzanian boy offers Juliet an orange, and later in the book, Cutler gives oranges to Arusha’s street kids. Thus, the orange becomes a literary metaphor for giving and receiving. What does Cutler give and what does she receive during her time in Tanzania?
  3. Throughout her time in Tanzania, Cutler faces many ethical dilemmas. What are some of these dilemmas? How would you have handled these dilemmas if you had been in Cutler’s shoes?
  4. The first president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere said, “ . . . the choice is not between change or no change, the choice for Africa is between changing or being changed.” How does Neng’ida experience and come to understand the cultural changes that the Maasai face?
  5. In Chapter 24, Cutler says, “I found myself frequently wondering how well-intentioned people in the West, like me and other short-term volunteers, could best help the Maasai, or Tanzanians in general.” What do you think are the best approaches to poverty alleviation?
  6. One recurring theme in the book is cultural difference. What do you think are the most significant cultural differences identified in the book? Which ones surprised you the most? What do you think Cutler learned about cultural difference?

MAASAI VOICES

Kakenya Ntaiya

Founder of Kakenya’s Dream

Martha Ntoipo

Maasai activist and former Conservation International fellow

Dr. Damaris Seleina Parsitau

Founder of Let Maasai Girls Learn and Echidna Global Scholar, Brookings Institution

ARTICLES

Parsitau, Damaris S. Engaging the custodians of tradition and culture: Leveraging the role of multiple actors in Maasai girls’ education, Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution, 2017.

 

Other articles by Dr. Parsitau

Naserian Mzee

Speaker at TEDxMajengo and actor in the student-made short film Black Head Cow about forced marriage in Maasai communities

OTHER RESOURCES

EDUCATE

Operation Bootstrap Africa

Empowering people in Tanzania and Madagascar through education, including providing scholarships to Maasai girls

PARTNER

Mwangaza Partnership

Fostering teacher and community development in Tanzania with a focus on child protection and safety, community health, women’s empowerment, and HIV/AIDS prevention

FIGHT POVERTY

Care International

Working alongside women and girls to improve basic education, prevent the spread of disease, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, and protect natural resources

VOLUNTEER

Mama Hope

Training impact entrepreneurs to partner with visionary leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa to lift communities out of poverty

EDUCATE

Global Girls Alliance

Empowering adolescent girls around the world through education, allowing them to achieve their full potential and transform their families, communities, and countries

POLICY

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Building a better world for people and our planet by 2030 through 17 sustainable development goals, including a focus on quality, equitable education

POLICY

Forum for African Women Educationalists

Promoting girls’ and women’s education in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve gender equity and equality

EDUCATE

Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED)

Tackling poverty and inequality by supporting marginalized girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering young women to step up as leaders of change

PARTNER

Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry

Working together with global partners to provide access to quality education for people at the margins–especially women and girls, including Maasai girls in Tanzania

PROTECT

Amani Children’s Home

Providing a place where Tanzania’s homeless children can find safety, counseling, food, medical care, and education

VOLUNTEER

The Chalmers Center

Working to alleviate poverty by equipping churches to empower the poor

POLICY

Global Partnership for Education

Supporting developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, prioritizing the poorest, most vulnerable and those living in countries affected by fragility and conflict

POLICY

United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative

Promoting girls’ education and gender equality through policy advocacy and support to governments and other development actors

DATA

UNESCO Education and Literacy

Providing research and data on the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, specifically related to education and literacy

© 2019 Juliet Culter. All rights reserved.